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The Wild River State

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Legacy Camping

homeVisitors to the Middle Fork of the Salmon inevitably express respect and admiration for the pristine condition of the 95 campsites along the river. Low impact camping practices that emphasize Leave No Trace principals and ethics have preserved and protected Native American and early settler historical sites found on the Middle Fork. Both commercial and private groups have embraced camping practices that have the lowest possible impact on campsites and historical resources.

The Middle Fork of the Salmon is a component of the national Wild & Scenic Rivers System and a dominant feature of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Management of the river and adjacent lands is subject to provisions of the Central Idaho Wilderness Act enacted by Congress in 1980. That legislation requires that historic sites along the river be identified and protected. On October 20, 2015 at a meeting in Stanley, Idaho, the Forest Service presented a draft Historic Preservation Plan (HPP) for the Frank Church Wilderness.

The draft raised concerns about how implementation would impact businesses associated with the Middle Fork. In response to those concerns, the Heritage Action Team (HAT) was established. The team is composed of Forest Service representatives, outfitters, private boaters and tribal members. Their objective is to protect the cultural resources of the Middle Fork while maintaining current levels of use.


HAT Members Meet in Boise, December 2016. Top row, left to right: Reed McDonnel, Steve Zettel, Liz Townley, Dustin Aherin, Mary Anne Davis, Chuck Marks, Shawna Johnson. Bottom row: Greg McFadden, Caleb George. Not pictured are members Diana Yupe and Jo Philpott.

During the 2017 river season three heritage sites along the Middle Fork will see increased management efforts as a result of HAT recommendations. Those efforts consist of increased education and awareness of the cultural significance of the sites, as well as social engineering to armor sensitive areas. This innovative approach to management of high use corridors is recognized as a big step forward in improving relationships and management of one of Idaho’s biggest resources.

Note to the Press: For more information about possible economic and visitor impacts resulting from implementation of the HPP, please contact Grant Simonds, Executive Director of the MFOA. Reduced visitation to the Middle Fork will negatively affect local communities and outfitters.

April 10, 2017: Press Release: Local Businesses Approach 2017 Season with Enthusiasm amid Uncertainties

December 8, 2016: Press Release: Outfitters Embrace Protecting Cultural Sites

November 4, 2016: “The Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Home of the Shoshone-Bannock Tuka-Deka” Forest Service video narrated by Diana Yupe, Native American interpreter.


May 17, 2016: Lewiston Tribune, Eric Barker – Artifacts and Rafters. Looking for Middle Ground at Middle Fork

May 2, 2016: Press Release: HPP Update & Economic Analysis

April, 2016: Middle Fork Economic Significance to Local Communities

April, 2016: Historic Preservation Plan

February, 2016: HPP Background

Campsite Story: Pristine Camping on the Middle Fork

November, 2015: Low impact camping